Saint Felix Flood

On November 5th 1530, Saint-Felix Day, Zeeland was hit by a storm flood which was later named the Saint-Felix flood. Once again large parts of Zeeland were washed away by the water. The area east of Yerseke, at that time known as Oost-Watering, was completely swept away. Eighteen villages and the city of Reimerswaal were situated in the area. The Saint-Felix flood led to the final downfall of the city of Reimerswaal. Because the city was situated higher than the rest of the area, it was left isolated as a small island. The land around it couldn’t be protected despite numerous attempts to dam up the area. The area that was flooded is now known as ‘the drowned land of Zuid-Beveland’. Oost-Watering, Noord-Beveland, and Schouwen-Duiveland were hit very hard by the Saint-Felix flood. Noord-Beveland was completely inundated, leaving only the tower of Kortgene visible. Fortunately the island was able to be saved, but it turned into a salt marsh area. Noord-Beveland was slowly regained in the years after 1530: almost seventy years after the flood hit, the first polder was again dammed.

The former area of Oost-Watering, inundated by the Saint-Felix flood, now provides ideal subsoil for the shellfish culture in Zeeland. Mussels are able to easily loosen the sand and silt on top of the hard layer of peat from which the soil is made. These freshwater beds provide an excellent area to move mussels to.